“Your name will never be forgotten” – so says the first book of the Maccabees. In Jerusalem, it is the task of the living memorial Yad Vashem (literally: a name and a monument) to remind of the past and to convey its significance to future generations. The knowledge of one’s own roots is very important for Jews. This is the reason why there is a genealogical knowledge database for family research for Jewish families in the Southwest of Germany under the guidance of Andrea Dettling in Gärtringen, to which the Rabbinatsmuseum Braunsbach is affiliated.
In Braunsbach, the local database includes the names of all the Jewish citizens who lived here since the beginning of the 17th century.
“My name is Ron and I live in New Zealand. I am looking for information on the sister of my great-great-grandmother. Her name was Fanny Berlinger. Can you help me?”. Similar questions reach the Rabbinatsmuseum Braunsbach more and more often. Hitherto, Elisabeth Quirbach had to look for days on end in the thick folders for any information she had collected over many years of work from various sources on the former Jewish citizens of the village. Today, everything is easier and quicker. Together with an intern from Warsaw, she has entered the data of almost 750 families and 2200 persons in this database.
Although research had long before been finished, it was important to check and complete the results time and again. The next step is to include photos and reports on special events in the lives of the persons. The non-public database facilitates considerably answering the requests of the Jewish descendants. “It's nice to be able to give people a part of their family identity. As with Phyllis, a Jewish woman from New York who has German roots. Some time ago, she donated her family megillah* from the 18th century to the Rabbinatsmuseum. When visiting Braunsbach, we could tell her that a brother of her great-grandfather, Jakob Bär Strauß from Niederstetten, had been teaching Jewish children for 27 years in the room where today her “family treasure” is displayed. Even more moving was a visit of the grave of this hitherto unknown ancestor in Crailsheim.”
*Info: Megillah = Scroll of the biblical book of Estheruer